Health, Wellness & Performance Coaching

How to Create Luck - Dr. Tina Seelig (Episode # 172)

June 21, 2021 Dr. Tina Seelig Season 3 Episode 25
Health, Wellness & Performance Coaching
How to Create Luck - Dr. Tina Seelig (Episode # 172)
Show Notes Transcript

What does it take to light a fire to our creative potential? What does risk have to do with luck? Are there practical steps to positively move the dial in each one of these?  In today’s podcast with Tina Seelig, we will take an evidence based deeper dive into creativity, risk taking and much more. 

Tina Seelig is Executive Director of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program, Professor of the Practice in Stanford University’s Department of Management Science and Engineering, and a faculty director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program.  Dr. Seelig earned her PhD in Neuroscience at Stanford Medical School, and has been a management consultant, entrepreneur, and author of 17 books, including inGenius, Creativity Rules, and What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20.

For more information about the Catalyst Community, earning your health & wellness coaching certification, the annual Rocky Mountain Coaching Retreat & Symposium and much more, please see https://www.catalystcoachinginstitute.com/ or reach out to us [email protected]

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 Finally, if you enjoy the Catalyst Podcast, you might also enjoy the YouTube Coaching Channel, which provides a full library of freely available videos covering health, wellness & performance: https://www.youtube.com/c/CoachingChannel

Speaker 1:

What does it take to light a fire to our creative potential? What does risk have to do with luck? And are there practical steps we can take to positively move the dial in each one of these? Welcome to the latest episode of the catalyst, health, wellness, and performance coaching podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Bradford Cooper of the catalyst coaching Institute. And today we're going to take an evidence-based deeper dive into creativity, risk taking , and much, much more. Our guest is Dr. Tina Seelig professor within Stanford university's department of management, science, and engineering, and a faculty director of the Stanford technology ventures program. Dr. Seelig earned her PhD in neuroscience at Stanford medical school and has been a management consultant entrepreneur and the author of, and no , this is not a typo 17 books, including ingenious creativity rules and what I wish I knew when I was 20. If you're looking to pursue a career as a health and wellness coach, the next MBA HWC approved training is coming up in mid August. These have been consistently filling early, so don't wait too long if that's a priority for you. And for those of you who are already coaches, you do not want to miss the event of the year, the Rocky mountain coaching retreat and symposium in Estes park, Colorado, the September. Yes. We're going to all be back together. Once again, details about both of these and much, much more. It could be [email protected] or email us anytime we'll set up a time to discuss anything that's coaching related [email protected] Now let's dig into risk, luck and creativity with Dr. Tina Seelig on the latest episode of the catalyst, health, wellness, and performance coaching podcast. All right, Dr. Seelig , thank you for joining us today. This is exciting. I love this topic. Our audience loves this topic. I think we're gonna have a lot of fun. Great.

Speaker 2:

And looking forward to it. Let's

Speaker 1:

Jump right in. So how to create luck. Everybody wants to know that I loved your Ted talk. If folks have not heard that they need to tap into that. It discussed the connection to risk profiles. Can you walk us through that? And why is our risk profile related to luck?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's really interesting people. Don't often think about the fact that risk taking is essentially the first step to being lucky. You need to get out of your comfort zone, do things that stretch you, that put you in a position to be lucky. And you T you mentioned risk profile. I mean, it's people often think of themselves as being risk takers or not. You know, whether I, yes, you are. You're not, but really it's much more nuanced. Risk-taking is not binary. There are physical risks, emotional risks, social risks, political risks, financial risks. And once you have people start mapping out their risk profiles, they start realizing how actually complicated it is. But there's some things they feel very comfortable doing that they don't think are risky, that other people think is. And there are things that they think are risky that other people go that would, that would be easy for me

Speaker 1:

Thinking here, I was driving out to a race. I enjoined during sports, and I was driving out to race with a couple of buddies that I went to college with. And they said, man, bro, you are such a risk taker. And I looked at him like, what do you mean? Like, I don't that that's not something I think of myself as, and they're like, you started this business, you know, you guys did your coaching suit , blah , blah , blah . And I said, yeah, but I have this wonderfully stable marriage, Suzanne, and I've been married 29 years. Our kids have done well. So we don't have craziness going on there. You know, finances are not a super concern. We've been very fortunate with our health. And so it's like all of us . And so when you said it's not binary, that immediately made me think, well, okay. That's why we saw it differently. They were looking at this one category. I was looking more at my life as a whole and saying, well, it's stable here, here, here, here, and here. So that gives more an ability to maybe yes. Take a few more risks in this other area. Is that the kind of thing you're talking about? Or am I way off track here?

Speaker 2:

So what kind of racing are you doing? This is

Speaker 1:

10 K's iron man's marathons , running triathlon .

Speaker 2:

Right? So here's the thing that's really interesting about that. You don't walk into a race unprepared, right? You've been training. So when you walk in, you've squeezed all the risk out of it because you've got the right shoes. You have water with you, you know exactly what you need. And so you essentially have created the best situation to be successful. You know, people who jump out of perfectly good airplanes, they don't jump out of an airplane without a parachute. They do it. They make sure their parachute is packed correctly. They know exactly where the plane is going. They've squeezed the risk out of it. So to them, it doesn't feel risky to someone who isn't prepared. That's when you're going to be risked and feel like it's really a risk. In fact, if you look at venture capitalists, which people often think that they're big risk takers, they're not at all. They want the best deals. They want the best market. They want the best team. They want to squeeze all the risk out of it to raise the probability that it's going to be successful. So I think it's really important to look at it from that perspective. It's not as though you're taking a risk, right? You don't want to die. You don't want to hurt yourself. You don't want to lose money. You want to set the stage for being successful. Right .

Speaker 1:

Okay. Good. Very good. All right . So , uh, with that said risk is a tough one for a lot of folks just saying the word like, oh, I don't want to be a risk taker. Are there practical suggestions on what folks can do that? Or maybe they're saying that in their head, as they hear you talking to maybe put themselves out there a little bit more on the risk side.

Speaker 2:

Sure. And it really is pretty straightforward and easy. I particularly like encouraging people to take more social risks. Get out there, introduce yourself to someone. Often the most powerful new luck comes in the form of meeting people who you wouldn't net before going to events, learning things. You haven't, you , you haven't done before. So essentially putting yourself out there in situations where you're not going to get hurt, right? You're not going to get break your leg saying hello to someone, the worst case scenario. If you invite someone out for dinner, or if you say hello to someone standing next to you in line the high , but the upside is you make a new friend. Maybe you end up with a new business partner. Maybe you come up with some interesting idea , um, who knows where it's going to take you. If you don't do it, you don't even know what he's missed. In fact about that all the time, every time you don't do something new, it's an opportunity . And that doesn't mean we shouldn't be running around like crazy people all the time. Making sure we don't ever miss a chance, but you know what? If you've got an opportunity to say hello to someone new, you should always take it. Um, I don't know if you've read my book, what I wish I knew when I was 20. But one of my favorite stories is in that book about an example where I was in line while I was at the grocery store. And I was with my son who was quite young at the time. And this man came up to me and he said, you know, can you explain to me how to make this lemonade? That was just a can of frozen lemonade. And clearly he wasn't from around here, he did, there were no instructions on it. So I explained it to him and I was very curious. So I got in line behind him and gave him in our little neighborhood grocery store. And I said, gee, how are you? What, you know , what brings you to town? And he looked at me a little bit funny at first. Like, why am I asking him he's well, you know, I'm here with my family for a couple of years to learn about entrepreneurship because I'm going to take over my family's business. I said, oh, that's interesting. I run the entrepreneurship center at Stanford. And I gave him my card. Well, lo and behold, he reached out to me and said, you know, I'm bringing a group of people to , to the valley. Can I, would you be happy to introduce me to some folks I did that he ultimately had to Brie a bigger entourage, including the president of Chile. I said, oh, this is really interesting. I helped him in whatever way I could. A few years later, I ended up in Chile running a conference and I reached out to him and he said, Tina , um, great to hear from you. Unfortunately I'm super busy. I can't meet you, but do me a favor show up with some of your colleagues at the lobby of this building in downtown Santiago. So I did, I brought a few of my colleagues. We went there, we got met with five. One of his colleagues take into the roof of the building, picked up by his family's helicopter, flown all over the city up to, you know, his family's ski resort and back down. And, and the lesson here is very interesting, right ? I would never have had this experience if I hadn't said hello to this fellow, but it's not about, I wait for the punchline turning lemons into lemonade, right? We started with lemonade. It was about turning lemonade into helicopters. And that's what luck is about. It's about essentially seeing and seizing those opportunities. Now, of course it could have ended up being nothing. But if I didn't say hello, that opportunity would never, ever have happened.

Speaker 1:

The only way those so incorrectly then, cause you're right. Every example, you know , at the grocery you're in the bus, whatever it is, it's, there's truly no risk, but we all are like, I shouldn't say all many of us, myself included tend to shirk back from that situation. Why do we overweigh the potential embarrassment? Or they're going to look at me strange or whatever with the helicopters.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, because the helicopters don't happen all that frequently. It's not like every day, but the fact is, if you're out there putting yourself out there interesting and , and really fun, and , um, opportunities will present themselves. A colleague of mine says that if you don't meet someone in every room that you go into , uh , you , or he says, there's a million dollars waiting for you in every room. It's a food up to you to find it. Now, of course, million dollars isn't necessarily financial. It's a metaphor for there's something valuable in every room. You know , whether it was something fascinating you're going to learn, which triggers an interesting idea that you go, oh, I could write a book about that. I could make a movie about that. I want to go to that interesting place. Um, you never know what's going to be there. And as long as you open your eyes and take a look,

Speaker 1:

So you're constantly interacting with entrepreneurs through the program that you run through, the area that you interact with, the VCs you talk to, are there , are there patterns, are there, like I gave you out of the gate, in terms of my example, do they have somewhat stability in other areas of their life , which frees him up to pursue things here? Or do they tend to just go for it type personalities across the board? Or is there no, is there no commonality?

Speaker 2:

There are so many different sort of archetypes of someone who's an entrepreneur. There's some people who are just, you know , driven to solve a problem and they go, you know, I really didn't want to start a company, but this is the only way to do it. I really, really need to, I need to start a company. It's the only way I'm going to solve this problem. Other people , um, that's what they want to do. I want to be my own boss. That to them is the lifestyle they want. And they're looking for problems that they can solve , uh , within that context . Right ? Exactly. Exactly. And in all cases, people don't want to fail. Right. So they don't feel like they're taking risks. They again are trying to squeeze all the risk out of it so that they ended up coming up with a successful venture.

Speaker 1:

Okay, good. Um, another concept you mentioned is to change our relationship with ideas. So instead of judging ideas, we come across as either being good. Again, we're back to the binary thinking as good or bad. You talk about it , a little different approach here. Can you walk us through that approach and maybe some practical tips on how to apply that

Speaker 2:

You bet. I love an exercise that I've been working in my, on my class for years and years. And it's a super simple exercise. It's when I'm teaching brainstorming. And typically when you're brainstorming, people are trying to come up with great ideas. Sounds obvious, come up with great ideas for how are we going to get to the moon or how are we going to solve global warming? But if you ask people to come up with the worst ideas, all of a sudden it opens up the door to some really, really interesting solutions , because what happens is when you come up with a good idea, they usually end up becoming incremental. There are things that are expected because they're supposed to be good. It's something that, you know , you wouldn't question, but when you come up with bad ideas, terrible ideas, ways that you're going to make the problem worse, what ends up happening is you open up the frame and at first you start laughing. Like, of course we're not going to do that. Of course, that sounds crazy. Or that would never work or that one's going to like totally destroy the planet. And then you go, well, she there's something in there usually because we've thought of it. There's something there and you start mining it. And when , once you look at it through the lens of possibilities, all of a sudden you go, oh, well, we could do it this way. I mean, one of my favorite examples , uh, from my classes, I might say, you know, play on the worst family vacation you can. So I go , okay, and you end up with things like a vacation in a garbage dump. It's like, oh my God, that sounds horrible until you go, oh, well maybe it's you bring your family and you get to collect all these things and see what you can make. And you turn them into art projects, or we're going to collect these treasures and figure out how to repurpose them and sell them at a flea market. And we're going to take all that money and do whatever we want, remodeled the house, whatever it is you start realizing, oh, the garbage dump that someone thought was a horrible idea that actually in there, something really, really interesting .

Speaker 1:

Well , I think you had an example as well about the cockroach restaurant,

Speaker 2:

Right? The idea, right? If you're going to design the worst , uh , restaurant then, okay. Or the idea of selling Cochran , sushi sounds horrible. But in embedded in that idea is sushi made with a really unusual ingredients. And you can imagine a really successful restaurant where you've got a huge variety of, of options, including some things, some people might think a little or a little bit strange or creepy or gross, but you know what? I got some people would relieve them.

Speaker 1:

And the idea of brainstorming is to create new ideas, not to dispel a lot of things in brainstorming . We get stuck into, well, I want to say the right answer. Well , when you go to that extreme, I love that because it completely opens up the doors to say whatever you want, because we're looking for the worst. We're not looking for accepted. We're not looking for

Speaker 2:

Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah . Yeah. Well, it's really just to build on that idea. Brainstorming is tough because people tend to have a, an urge to evaluate the ideas way too early. And they started basically saying no to ideas that seems stupid or that they don't think will ever work, or they may say they've tried it before. And so once you do that, once you start evaluating the ideas during a brainstorming session, it kills the brainstorming session. It literally dies because no one's willing to give any more ideas because ideas are very fragile. You throw them out. And if someone hits them down and feeds them up and punches holes in them, you're not going to want to generate any new ideas. But if you're trying to come up with bad ideas, it's hard to criticize others too bad. And so then you end up with a quite a wonderful collection of things that you can mind for some brilliant essence.

Speaker 1:

That's perfect. I love that. All right. Creativity is another subject you explored quite extensively, including your new book, creativity rules, what are some keys to creativity and our , both our personal and our professional pursuits. If you can kind of address each one of those.

Speaker 2:

So one of the most important aspects of creativity, it's just curiosity, paying attention to things that are around you. I mean, it's a starting point and there are so many things you can do in your environment. And in fact, let me reference my book ingenious as ways to stimulate creativity. I don't know if you've got a chance to read it, but I use in there a framework called the innovation engine, where I look at what you have to do as an individual and within an organization to unlock creativity. So as an individual, there three things, your knowledge, your imagination, and your attitude , your knowledge is very important because your knowledge is the toolbox for your imagination. You, if you don't have that base knowledge, you don't have anything to work with. So for example, if I want to invent a flying car or a cure for cancer, if I don't know about engineering or about biology, I'm not going to be able to implement more, even imagine the ideas, but I needed that starting point as this toolbox, you also need these skills, these imagination skills, you need to know how to brainstorm. You know, how to challenge assumptions, you know, how to reframe problems, all these things that really allow you to take that knowledge and do something interesting with that . And then you need the right attitude. You need the attitude that the problem can be solved. And if you aren't optimistic, if you don't really , um , know that you're going to push through barriers, you're going to get stuck and you're going to give up. So it's an individual, right? You need your attitude, your imagination and your knowledge, but this is not enough. You need the outside of this innovation engine. And that is what happens in the environment. This includes the resources, the habitat and the culture. So resources, people often think is money, but resources are way beyond that. There , the natural resources you have there , the people in your community, there all sorts of other things , um, in your, in your environment, those resources are very critical, right? I'm in Silicon valley. I have a lot of venture capitals around. The more I know about venture capital, the more knowledge I have, the more likely I am to unlock it. And the more venture capitals there are, the more likely I am to know that information. So knowledge and resources are directly related. Habitat is equally important, and this is the rules, the rewards, the incentives, the physical space, all these things that dramatically affect the way that we think. And we need to really be very thoughtful about creating the habitats that are going to stimulate our imagination. We're so sensitive to the rules of rewards, just like we talked about in brainstorming. If part of the culture is that we criticize ideas. You're not going to get a lot of them, but if you have a culture where big ideas are celebrated, that's when you're going to have an environment where those ideas come to life, right ? And the final piece is culture. Culture is essentially the collective attitudes of the people in your organization. And every individual is affected by that. So you really need to think about crafting your environment with the habitat, the resources and the culture that reinforces the things you do as an individual to be more creative. So that probably was more than you expected a lot of times .

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's that's key. And you can see where even on a, on a national level, some countries do better. Some countries do worse. You're talking about Silicon valley. It's a, it's a, obviously a hotbed for these things because all of these exist are supported, et cetera, et cetera.

Speaker 2:

It's really important because you can go to cultures around the world where failure, for example, was very, not just frowned upon. I mean, people feel like, oh my gosh, if I failed by company goes out of business. If my, if I fail in school, if my marriage fails, any of these things fail, you feel like you personally are a failure. And some people in some cultures have , you're like, oh my gosh, I need to go move somewhere else and change my name. Right. And so, whereas if you live somewhere where we don't necessarily even celebrate, but we acknowledge the failures of part of the learning process and part of the development of an idea and it go , okay, that didn't work. But the next idea, well ,

Speaker 1:

I think that's so important for people. It's so important for people to hear it . We had Tom Peters who I think has also a Stanford grid many, many, many years ago that wrote the in search of excellence. He talks about in his books. He wouldn't even hire somebody if they haven't failed on something, like you've got to have a gap in their resume where they went for it and they fell short. And that's, that's obviously not the right answer, but that's kind of what you're talking about is the culture that says that's not just okay, kind of expected.

Speaker 2:

Well, you know what? I'm going to guess that neither one of us walked the first time we tried or talk , the first time we tried

Speaker 1:

Or

Speaker 2:

Rode a bicycle, the first time he tried, why do we expect, you know, adults who are working on something that no one has done before, if you're especially, you're trying to do something really big and bold, why would you expect that? The first time it's not going to have some false starts and surprises. So we need to look at failure as data on the path to success. It doesn't mean it's easy. It doesn't mean you don't end it with some bruises, right? If you're trying to ride a bike and you fall off and you skin your knee, it doesn't mean you don't ever get back on it. You just go, okay, I didn't do it. I didn't do it yet. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Folks, I hope you're hearing what she's saying loud and clear here. This is so key. Um , you talk about puzzle builders compared to quilt makers. What in the world does that have to do with creativity in , in, in what we're doing on a daily basis?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I love this framework. This idea that people, some people are puzzle builders and other accrual makers, a puzzle builder. Well , think about a jigsaw puzzle. You're given the puzzle. It's already got a picture on it. Then cut on very clearly defined lines. Your job is just put it back together. Again, there are some jobs that require you to be a puzzle builder, and that's a great thing. But the problem is if you're a puzzle builder and you're missing a piece of the puzzle, you say, I can't go any further, right? These are people who would make excuses, right? That part is out of stock. The person I need is on vacation. Lots of reasons why you can't succeed, where someone who is a quilt maker is a person who says, Hey, guess what? Here's where I want to get to. Here's what my goal is. What are all the things I have at my disposal to get there? And that's the key, the people who are able to say, I have an objective and they can leverage the resources they have at their disposal are the ones who are the true innovators. I remember years ago , uh , Peter diamantes who started the X prize and you know, is out there trying to mine, asteroids for precious metals. He wants , walked into one of his colleagues opposites , and they had up on the wall, the Murphy's law, anything can go wrong. It will add , uh , he got so upset and he took a Sharpie and he crossed out it will and road fix it. If anything can go wrong, fix it. And the idea of that was the mindset of like actually making something as success, as opposed to being prepared for like, okay, you know, it's just not going to work.

Speaker 1:

Right. Right. Oh, that's great. Um, I want to come back. You mentioned the , the innovation engine and attitude was the third piece. Are there certain people you come across in your, in your classes or your interactions or your, your consulting, that kind of thing, where you just think, ah , they kind of roll your eyes and think this person, they, they just, the attitude's just not there. Or is that something that changes as you get around the right people and you listen to some like yourself and read your books, talk us about this attitude.

Speaker 2:

I think it's very changeable. I think it's very changeable. One of my favorite examples of this is that , um, so my book, what I wish I knew when I was 20 was surprisingly successful in Asia, especially in Japan asked me to do, yeah, they'd ended up on the, you know, the number one of the best seller list for months, which was just crazy. I'd never even been to Japan , but the method really resonated. So they asked me if I would do a TD series in Japan. So I said, okay, fine. That sounds kind of fun. But eight sessions, which we filmed at Stanford and they made it and they put subtitles on or dubbed it. But they said, you know what? People really enjoy this, but it would never work in Japan. And I said, what do you mean? It would never work in Japan. All this create a problem solving. So they said, no, our students are just not as creative. And I said, you gotta be kidding. That's just, can't be the case. First of all, I have students in my classes at Stanford who are from all over the world. You can't tell me that, that the kids from Japan can't do this. And they said, prove it. So I went to Japan and I did the final two episodes in Japan at a soccer university. And I did the tiniest little intervention. I did a tiny little two hour workshop. And then I gave them an assignment and it was due the next day. And I'm happy to tell you what it was in a second. But the point is they blew my socks off. They blew their own socks off . They said at the end, they had no idea how creative they were and why? Because I had created the environment, right? We talked about the innovation engine. I had created an environment where the rules were boards. They incentives were set in place to allow them to be creative. And so I am a deep believer that these can definitely change. I've had a situation where a student's been in my class for a quarter and at the end they it's graduation. And they come to see me afterwards and they say, my parents hardly recognized me. Right? I used to be afraid of things. I used to not be a risk taker . I sort of was someone who was straightened narrow. And now, after being in this environment where creativity and big thinking was celebrated, they said, Hey, I , I actually feel like a different person. So absolutely these things can change

Speaker 1:

Two things. First thing, environment slash maybe expectations. You went into that setting in Japan. You expected them to succeed. You laid it out there. You said, no, I think you can. I think you've got it. I think you can do this. Here's some tools. Here's some procedures, blah , blah, blah, blah, blah. To me, it seems like so much is it's all about the expectations of those that we work with for our parents, our spouses, our friends, et cetera, et cetera. You haven't mentioned that word specifically. It's probably inherent in some of the cultural type things. What's the role of expectations of those people that we spend time with.

Speaker 2:

There's a stories. I mean, I'm fascinated by the stories we tell about ourselves, the stories people tell about us and how those stories. We play out. Those stories I have , um, have had situations where I have students in my class who are in exactly the same position, meaning they bought like three students who are computer science majors at Stanford in a particular program. And they're all seniors about to graduate. But their story about who they are in the world is so shaped from where they grew up and what they were told they could achieve. And when I have them do aspirational resumes at the end of the program, it's shocking how they diverge. And it's not just a Virgin in terms of the quality of like what they want to do, but the quantity, what they think they can achieve in their life. You know , there are people who say, you know, I'm going to be the president of my, whatever home country that they're from. And like, that's what I aspire to. And the other person says, you know, I want to be a product manager and it's not that any one of these is bad or good, but it's fascinating. The stage on which they choose to play out their life is very much shaped by the stories they tell about who they are.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So we're not talking general population. We're not talking about a cross section. We're talking about Stanford university students. The best of the best. This is consistently one of the top five universities in almost every category. And yet even within that small smidgen of a slice of our population globally, you're saying you still see that kind of variety.

Speaker 2:

Massive. It's massive. And we tell stories , um , about who we are in the world and what we can achieve. And I'm fascinated by seeing this is, tell me what you , what you think about this. I see people give away their power every single day. When I see an opportunity right in front of them, and I watch this and they don't take it. I tell my students that when you get a job, you don't get that job. You're getting the keys to the building. If you only do the job that you were chosen for, if you just do what the job description says, basically you've let us know that that is the limit of what you have . That's who you are. But if you say, okay, this is basic , just the starting

Speaker 1:

Got me out

Speaker 2:

The door, but you see all the opportunities around you. You see places that you can contribute. You see ways that you can be helpful. That's where you end up , um , really shining and the opportunities present themselves. Honestly, listen, I walked into Stanford in a very junior position, very, very junior position. It was because it was kind of like find a tsunami and stand in front of it . It was brand new entrepreneurship center at the school of engineering. And I came in literally as like the, almost the admin. I was like, you know what, there's something here. But I just kept saying, you know what? I kept volunteering, oh, let me help with this. Let me help with this. Oh, someone doesn't want to teach that class. I'll teach that class. Why they let me do these things? I don't know. I just volunteering. It'll find me. I became a professor. I mean, honestly, I am sort of this people think of me as a unicorn, you know, in this environment. But I have to tell you it's because I just constantly was knocking on every door and seeing more seeing where my key opened, oh , my keywords on this door. Like he works on that door. Let's see where it takes me.

Speaker 1:

Um , I'm still intrigued by the fact that we're talking Stanford, we're talking the top 0.5% of the population. And yet there, it sounds like a huge number of people within that 0.5 that don't have the confidence. Don't have the belief don't have the ability to, I guess I'm just done to me, I'm explaining this because I'm sure some of our listeners are too that within that sliver, they're still missing those.

Speaker 2:

Well, it might be that something happened where they failed and were really , um , bruised in a way that they felt that they weren't able to recover. Who knows what the situation is. I mean, there are people who come from very different backgrounds where they're very different stories are told about what , what success looks like, right? And so they paint a picture of what they want to achieve in the world. And clearly there are so many ways to live your life, right? You can go pick this beach with the picture behind me and decide that you want to go and spend your life surfing and that's success to you. So no one else can judge you besides yourself of what you want to accomplish, but I'm fascinated at how , um, how those stories we tell. So shape the opportunities we see for ourselves.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah. Now, speaking of which, you talked about creativity in one area, like in one of your classes seems to open doors in their life as a whole. So it's like they've changed the story in this setting, which then changes the story in that setting. Talk us through that a little bit. That's that's really interesting.

Speaker 2:

Well, the tools that I teach are very much can very easily be applied in any setting. One of the most important things that I teach is about reframing problems, looking at the problem from a very different set of lenses, because so often we quickly run to solutions to problems that that is what we're taught. You know, here are multiplication tables, you know, how quickly can you answer them all? How quickly can you answer this multiple choice tests? How quickly can you write this essay? But living in the problem space long enough is incredibly important because you might be solving the wrong problem. Let me give you just a quick example. Uh , one of my favorites is that, so w when is your birthday?

Speaker 1:

April 27th. Okay .

Speaker 2:

Okay. Well we just, we just hit your birthday was just, okay. So great. We could have brainstormed to come up with the best birthday party for you. That had been a good idea. Okay. Okay. But anyway, we could brainstorm the best birthday party for you, but are we asking the right question? Because if we change one word in that prompt from what's the best birthday party to what's the best birthday celebration, what happened to the set of solutions? Yeah . What about the best way to mark your birthday? A different set of solutions? What about the desperate they present, where the best birthday tradition or the best birthday adventure, each one of these questions opens the door to different set of solutions. So if you don't question the question you're asking, you're missing the opportunity to think about coming up with a very different set of solutions. And so that's one of the most important things I teach in my classes. And so my students come back years later and tell me that this was the door that I'm , this is the key that unlocked huge opportunities in their , in their career, because everyone's trying to solve this problem. They were able to look at it and say the problems really over here and open the door to a whole new business that no one really had even thought about.

Speaker 1:

Right. Right. Okay. That makes good sense. So you've told me my next credit . I'm gonna skip over that one. Let's talk about you. And you've mentioned it twice. The , the book, what I wish I knew when I was 20. Um, what are some of the most intriguing? I love the title. Like, I love that title. It's no wonder it took off for you, but what, what have people found to be the most intriguing insights from that? Because I think everybody likes asking that question. I even saw it posted on social media the other day. What would you w what three word phrase would you tell the 18 year old year or the 20 year old year or whatever. So it's fun for us all to explore that probably the older we get, the more so, but what were some of the things that , that people came back to you and said, Dr. Seeley , this stuff was great, or you really got me thinking about that piece?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. One of the things I , uh , right at the end of the book is that I could've called the whole book or every chapter give yourself permission, you know, permission to break the rules, permission, to challenge, assumptions, permission to get out of the traditional path. It's a fact that , that, that you get to tell your own story. And instead of waiting, you know, we're listening to the stories that everyone else tells about you. What's the story you want to tell and really giving yourself permission to do that, to take some risks, for example, to get out of your comfort zone and do things that maybe your parents thought was really risky. I mean, I think about the fact that I grew up in New Jersey and I went from college high school to college, right. To graduate school. And after I started graduate school, one semester in , I said, I need a break. I not here for the right reasons. I'm here because my parents told me the story that this is what I'm supposed to do. And I'm really not into it right now. And I'm not sure that this is even my choice. And I gave myself permission really hard. I mean, I really said, please, please, please, to myself, can I do this? And I took a leave of absence. I got in my little car and drove across the country. My parents were devastated. I mean, it was very funny. I said, you know , they said, we're going to take away your car. They had just given me this heavy citation . We're take away your car. I said , no problem. I'll just get a motorcycle. Then they're like, okay, fine. Keep the car. I drove across the country with my cat and , uh , you know, straight across and move to California. And it was enormous. It felt like sort of a huge risk, but really what was the risk? I mean, I took a leave of absence. I could go back to school if I needed to. I ended up rebuilding my entire life in California. It was the best thing I ever did. I ended up doing a number of things that allowed me to really reinforce what I wanted to do. And then when I went back to grad school, this time at Stanford, when I went back to grad school, I was there because it was my choice. It wasn't someone else's. And I was able to really thrive when it was, I was entirely motivated as opposed to externally motivated. And this is a really important thing in our lives. We so often are rule followers. We're in school. Everybody's giving us problems to solve that they've decided you should solve, but, you know, once you've really tapped into your own internal motivation, that's when things really, really start to blossom.

Speaker 1:

And , and so the , the 20, the number 20, you could have chosen 18, you could have chosen 25 chosen 40 or 39. You chose 24 reasons. Can you talk us through that critical transition?

Speaker 2:

Well, it was definitely written for my son as he was going off to college. And what happened is, so I could have said 18, but 20 sort of rolled off the tongue. And so I use 20, and in fact, the book came out on his 20th birthday. So it was his 20th birthday present. So from the time I started thinking about doing it until it came out was two years. So it worked out perfectly. You know, I realized that my son had learned all the things you're supposed to learn in school, you know, math and history and all the other academic disciplines. But I , what happened is I started panicking when he was about 16 years old. And I said, you know, he's learned all these things, but there were a lot of things he has not learned that are really important to be successful in life. So I started making a list and I just had an award document on my computer. And then I was asked to give a talk to a group at Stanford, a business leadership program. And I thought, what am I going to talk about? So I went to this list. I had crafted for my son, Josh and I created a talk called what I wish I knew when I was 20. And then I just kept getting asked to give that talk again. And again and again, until finally I was on my way, flying back from having, given it to 5,000 cadets at west point. And I said, you know, there's a book in here. So I wrote the book proposal on my way across the country and the rest of , as for my son, it started out as you know, these are things I really want my kid to know.

Speaker 1:

And how old is he now?

Speaker 2:

32. Wow. I know, I know. I just can't even believe it. But the tenure, I released the tenure edition of the book two years ago and really proud of that. I went back after 10 years and added in a couple more chapters and was able to update it based on everything I've learned since then.

Speaker 1:

I love that. And our son's name is Josh too. So I mean, we're talking. Yeah . He's 21. So actually just

Speaker 2:

Turned 22.

Speaker 1:

He just turned 22. Did you give him the book? No, but I need to, we got him covered. I can say Josh. This was written for you buddy.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, exactly. Exactly.

Speaker 1:

W were you surprised by any stories that you heard from people that said, oh my gosh, Dr . C like Tina, this is, I read this I'm 41. I'm 67, whatever. This really hit me. Were there any surprises that just stand out in your head?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, the wonderful thing is that I I've been getting letters every single day, since it came out from people from around the world. Most recently they've been from , um, from the middle east because the new additions has come out in that part of the world. And it's been just fascinating, a lot of people though, right. From parts of the world where they traditionally don't feel as though they have very many opportunities and they're saying, wow, I'm realizing that even in this environment, that feels like it's not very opportunity rich, that there are opportunities there that I really can tap into. So it's a way it's a shame rethinking sort of a reframing of what you had and saying, you know what, there's more here than meets the eye. Right.

Speaker 1:

That's powerful. That's powerful. Um, so you just mentioned the ten-year anniversary of that. Uh, it came out literally what, 2010 is that right? So 12 years now. Yeah . Um, what do you wish you would have known before you wrote that book?

Speaker 2:

Oh, that's so interesting women before. Well, here's the thing that's interesting about writing that book and CFC, maybe this answers your question. Okay . That book seemed to write itself. There was such an urgency to write it. And I think it's the same way. Like if you're starting a company or starting a restaurant or starting anything in a trip around the world, that there was an urgency, I felt to write it. This was like, I really wanted to get these stories down. I had been carrying them around in my head for a long time. And I wrote the book in four months. It was the most, you know, the idea of being in flow. It was the most wonderful experience being in that place where the ideas just flowed. I felt so in the moment and every day that I wrote, I felt like I had crafted something that I was very proud of. And it's a , just a reminder of how special it is when you're in that place. When there's something that you really resonates for you and that when you're in that place, it absolutely does not feel like work. My, my other books that I've written have been much harder work, and I'm just as proud of them. But that moment, that writing that book was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.

Speaker 1:

That's a sign of something. Last question. How are you, you're studying all these different aspects. How are you finding yourself, applying it to Tina's life? What are you, what are you seeing in your life with these?

Speaker 2:

So I wanna , I want to reframe the question a little bit. I don't know if you know, I've actually taken on a brand new role in the last few months at Stanford. I am now the executive director of a program called the Knight Hennessy scholars program. And you could basically think of Knight . Hennessy is it's a brand new it's in its third year program, kind of like the road scholars program at Stanford. And it was founded by John Hennessy. Who's the former president of Stanford. And with a very large contribution from Phil Knight, the founder of Nike. So that's why it's called the Knight Hennessy scholars. And we are putting together a program to teach future leaders how to be, how to be as effective as possible in the world. So these are all graduate students from across Stanford, from around the world and from every discipline. And they come to Stanford, they get supported in their academic training, but we are crafting a program, a set of programs for them over three years to prepare them to be future leaders. And this has been so fabulous to crafting and leadership framework that we're using that inspires all of our programming and thinking about what it is that every leader should need should have. What are the skills? What's the knowledge, and what's the culture we want to create. Think about the innovation engine, right? What's the knowledge I need, what are the skills they need? What's the attitude they need. And what's the environment and the culture that we're creating to really bring out these talents.

Speaker 1:

Wow. Wow. I feel

Speaker 2:

Like a kid in a candy store, brand new brand new opportunity to do some things that are really, really meaningful,

Speaker 1:

Very exciting. What's the best way for people to keep up with you . I mentioned during the intro, you've written 17 books. That sounds crazy out of the gate and that's in addition to everything else you're doing. But if people want to keep up with what you're doing, is there social media sites, websites, what's your recommendation?

Speaker 2:

I tend to be on Twitter. So at TCL X , a T S E L I G. So at TC league and people can also reach out to me. It's just a TC, like a Gmail. If anyone has any specific things specific, they want to reach out about perfect or LinkedIn, LinkedIn also. So thank you

Speaker 1:

So much fun. It's such

Speaker 2:

A pleasure. Thank you so so much.

Speaker 1:

So now we know the background behind what Clint Eastwood was really asking what his famous line DIA feel lucky punk. Now, for those of you who are wondering what in the heck I'm talking about, it's worth looking up, check it out. Thanks for tuning into the number one podcast for health and wellness coaching. Next week's guest is one of our popular, hidden gems. Now, as always, I'm not going to give it away, but if you're curious about the connection between brain health, mental health and nutrition, you will not want to miss this one. You need anything on the coaching front, whether considering pursuing your MBA , WC approved coaching certification, attending this fall's Rocky mountain coaching retreat and symposium. We're just curious how to integrate personalized board certified health and wellness coaching into your organization's program. Feel free to reach out to us anytime [email protected], or you can tap into more resources on the new website, catalyst coaching institute.com. Now it's time to be a catalyst on this journey of life, the chance to make a positive difference in the world while simultaneously improving our own lives, which is the essence of being a catalyst. This is Dr. Bradford Cooper, the cow's coaching Institute, make it a great rest of your week. And I'll speak to you soon on the next episode of the catalyst, health, wellness, and performance coaching podcast, or maybe over on the YouTube.